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Sandbach Crosses

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The Sandbach Crosses are two early 9th-century stone Anglo-Saxon crosses now in the market place of the town of Sandbach, Cheshire. Their original location is unknown,[1] but they have always been a pair, and were carved by the same hand.[2]

The crosses are unusually large and elaborate examples of their type, and are recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building,[3] and a scheduled monument.[4]

Sandbach was part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, and at the time of the erection of the crosses lay at the centre of a large early Anglo-Saxon parish, possibly even the site of a minsterChurches originally founded in Anglo-Saxon times, and a term revived for some large parish churches. church. The crosses were originally brightly painted and adorned with jewels and metalwork, powerful symbols of church authority.[5]

The crosses are first documented as being in the market place in 1585,[5] probably having been moved there during the late Middle Ages,[3] and soon after the town was granted a charter for two fairs and a weekly market. In the early 17th century the crosses were torn down by Puritans opposed to religious imagery, and the pieces dispersed. The shafts were reassembled in their present location by the Cheshire antiquarian George Ormerod in 1816, using similar sandstone to replace the missing sections.[5]